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In The Mall Parking Lot

One of my favorite things to do while driving is trying to figure out the meaning of vanity plates. You know the ones I’m talking about – the owner pays extra to say something special on their license plate up to eight letters. But with only eight letters they have to really work at it to create any kind of meaning. Continue reading In The Mall Parking Lot

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A Slight Misunderstanding

Do-it-yourself is getting more popular all the time. The really ambitious DIY people take on huge projects with no thought about what kind of help they might need or find.

My daughter lives in the suburbs north of Dallas and works in the banking industry there. The man she married is a great guy but he’s a bit of a good-ole-boy and what I call a tinkerer. He’s very handy at house maintenance and has no fear of failure in any type of construction project.

Recently, he and my daughter found a piece of land just south of the Oklahoma border outside a small town and decided that’s the place to build their getaway cabin. My son-in-law decided he and my grandson were gonna try to do most the work themselves.

Construction has gone well and the cabin is almost finished. Last week the only thing left was some of the final painting. Things slowed down a bit however when my son-in-law brought up a TV to watch March madness and my grandson was busy with school and his day job. The pressure was still on though because my daughter was threatening to come up for a wifely inspection of the work.

That weekend all of the painting supplies were sitting outside ready to get started on the porch. But the basketball games were about to begin. Luckily about that time one of the young kids from the nearby town came by. She said she was looking for a way to earn some extra cash. She saw the painting equipment and asked my son-in-law if there was any painting she could do.

Well, he jumped at the chance to get the painting done and still watch the game. He tells her he’d give her thirty bucks to paint the porch on the side of the house. She says, “Deal” and takes the paint, rollers and brushes around the side of the house while my son-in-law settles down to watch the game.

Before the game gets to halftime there’s a knock at the door. The girl is standing there. “I’m all finished”, she says. My son-in-law is still reaching for his wallet when she continues, “But it’s not a Porsche, its a Lexus”

Gotcha!! Have a great April Fool’s Day everyone.

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Living in a Road Runner Cartoon

You know the cartoons I’m talking about. They start with the Road Runner running down the highway. The bird goes “Beep beep!” as it runs past the Coyote. The Coyote gets an idea and sends away to Acme, A Company that Makes Everything. Moments later a package arrives followed with furious hammering, sawing and sanding by the Coyote until a new, road runner-trapping method is born which is invariably unsuccessful. Continue reading Living in a Road Runner Cartoon

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Now There Are Two of Them

Remember when I mentioned that Snowball was planning on building a DIY backyard foundry to melt down aluminum cans into ingots for her maker friends to use? Well after a cart load of metal and plastic buckets, several bags of plaster and sand, three hack saws plus a couple of huge drill bits it has become a reality. It basically boils down to a large metal bucket with a fireproof lining and a hole drilled in the side where air is forced in by a hairdryer (I mentioned the DIY part, right?) to make a fire hot enough to melt pop cans, singe eyebrows from a distance and Goddess knows what else. Continue reading Now There Are Two of Them

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The Greenhouse Incident

Sometimes my wife Snowball’s projects don’t even sneak up and build slowly, they explode fully grown from the start. An example of this is the hobby greenhouse that we have. Pearl Harbor could not have surprised me more than what happened on a late spring day many years ago. We were sitting on the front porch enjoying a refreshing beverage. As the UPS truck pulls up Snowball says, “Oh that must be the greenhouse I ordered.” This being the first I had heard of any plans for a greenhouse, my mouth opened but no words came out. I just walked over to the truck and helped the somewhat overwhelmed delivery guy haul four 200-pound boxes to the garage.

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The Continuous Avalanche

My wife is a genius. But unlike many geniuses (geniusi?) she has wonderful people skills and most of the time doesn’t lack for common sense. She’s always thinking of new artistic projects, designs and new ways to arrange the house and yard. Me, however, I really don’t care for change in our lives. That’s probably typical of most couples. This dichotomy has caused me to come up with many nicknames for my wife, most of which should probably not be published on a website. But the one that best describes her is “Snowball”.

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Gardening by the Yard

How much responsibility does one spouse have concerning the other’s hobby? Well, I suppose it depends on the hobby.

Among her many hobbies my wife has a flower garden. But I don’t know if that describes it. It’s more like a collection of colorful plants, many in pots, many in the ground. The grandkids call in grandma’s maze. I call it the Land of the Lost.

My idea of yard is a nicely trimmed lawn with no weeds. In our case, about a third of the backyard has grass which edges directly up to the garden. This makes it impossible to use any kind of weed treatment without hitting plants meant for growing in the garden. Mowing is difficult but not impossible if you have the correct philosophy.

Over the past years, I’ve drilled drainage holes and moved pots to their summer locations. I’ve dug holes to drop the plant in and even leveled and landscaped the area around the potting bench. Someday I’ll tell the story of the greenhouse kit I assembled. When she leaves for a couple of days, I water daily. On hot, sunny afternoons I even set out misting hoses. And above all I never ask how much money has been spent on garden supplies. That way lies madness.

But all of the obligatory assistance aside, isn’t it her hobby? I hate yard work. As far as I’m concerned the only reason we have a yard is because it came with the house. So I try not to feel guilty when she spends the entire day in the hot sun deadheading. She must enjoy it or she wouldn’t have planted all that flora, right?

“Say sweetie, those flowers next to you over in sun look gorgeous. Can I bring you another glass of lemonade? Just a thought.”